Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Briar Rose Bolero - Sleeve 1 Done

While I have been working on my Tea Rose Shawlette I have not been neglecting my Camp Loopy project.  Here is my first sleeve, done up to the underarm.  I love the way the colors are striping on the diagonal.  This was a nice piece of mindless knitting.  When I wasn't working on it the yarn and my row counter nested perfectly inside, the unfinished sleeve became a yarn cozy.  Now on to the second sleeve, unfortunately the yarn cake is getting small enough that it will fall out of the bottom of the sleeve.  I used almost half a skein on sleeve 1.

This morning I saw a cardinal snatch a bug out of the air.  It was a nice bit of flying.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tea Rose Shawlette - Chart B

Now that I have my time sensitive projects underway I decided to get back to one of my other works in progress.  I do love The Unique Sheep yarns and patterns, and picking up one of their projects does feel a bit like coming home to me.  I had set this one aside after working a couple of rows of Chart B because, quite frankly, that chart is just a bit of a pain to knit.  There is lace patterning on both right side and wrong side rows and it contains one of my least favorite lace stitch combinations: a yarn over to a purl stitch.  I have my own way of doing these that does not involve wrapping the yarn around the needle.  Instead I start the yarn on the far side of the needle, bring it across the top and purl the stitch by coming up under the right hand needle tip rather than across the top.  This resulting purl stitch is reversed (leading edge on the backside of the needle rather than the front side), which then slows the next row down as I switch the orientation.  A bit of a pain, but it does result in more uniform yarn over holes.  The next chart is a repeat of Chart A, which was actually a fun chart to knit.  But Chart D looks to be a variation of Chart B.  Sigh.

Pattern:  Tea Rose Shawlette, by Julia Temiseva
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Tea Rose
Needles:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Knitterati Mystery Sock - Clue 1

As promised, here is the first clue of the Knitterati Mystery Socks.  A nice, easy pattern, so far.  I do like toe-up socks.  I think it is because of the cast on.  It really is magic.  And I do it without a knot.  I like to knit socks two at a time, just because you don't end up with the one sock blues, but I still don't do them simultaneously on the same needle (magic loop style).  That just confuses me.  I have to do them in stages.  A couple of years ago I knit a sideways pullover with a boat neck, where you knit the sleeve then split for the body, and I knit both front and back simultaneously and kept losing track of which side I was on.

Pattern:  It's a mystery, by Janel Laidman
Yarn:  Little Red Bicycle Boneshaker Blue Faced Leicester Sock
Needles:  US 1, (2.25mm)

Sunday, May 27, 2012


So, let's see how good your eyes are.  Two of the six blue stone beads are smaller than the others.  Can you spot them?  You might think there are three, but there are really only two.  When I was taking my initial photos I thought that I may have grabbed a couple of smaller beads, but this photo was the real proof.  This afternoon I cut it apart and re-strung it.  I think those two smaller beads may have been left overs from an older strand.  Here it is after my fix.

Briar Rose Bolero - Lower Body Done

I actually cast this on in the wee hours of the morning.  I had fallen asleep on the daybed watching Turner Classic Movies and knitting on my Knitterati mystery socks (more on those later).  I woke up around midnight and shuffled off to bed, but once there I couldn't get back to sleep.  Bruce had actually already gone to bed and he woke up after I came up.  Neither one of us could sleep, so he grabbed his Kindle and I grabbed my knitting.  And, seeing as how it was now May 27, I decided to cast on my Camp Loopy project.  I picked this project because of the interesting construction techniques.  I wanted a somewhat challenging project that would still be doable in the time frame allotted.  The bolero starts off with some short row shaping to get the curved bottom edge, I did shadow wraps for the short rows.  You may recall that I tried the shadow wraps on my Boreal socks, but didn't really like the results, but for this application they were perfect, and so easy.  Now I get to go knit two sleeves up to the underarm.  The sleeves are then attached to the body and the knitting continues from there.

Pattern:  Briar Rose Bolero by Ysolda Teague
Yarn:  Dream in Color Classy in Cool Fire
Needles:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Little Wing Shawlette

The patterns for the third installment of the Knitterati sock club were released yesterday.  This time the shawlette is the pattern and the sock is the mystery.  This is the first chart of the shawlette, Little Wing.  I am continuing my tradition of using a Zen Yarn Garden yarn for one of the projects.  This is Zen Yarn Garden Squooshy, 80/20 superwash merino/nylon in color Icarus, a recent Art Walk Sock Yarn club shipment.

When I was coming back downstairs after taking this photo, I noticed an arachnid intruder on the door frame of the door that leads into the garage.
I put him outside.  That light green on the door frame is the color that the living room was painted when we moved in.  The first thing I did was paint the living room yellow, but I never got around to painting the door or the door frame.

Lavender Roses Necklace

I picked up this set of lamp work beads last year at Bead & Button.  I thought that they were sweet, and the predominant color is purple, which is my favorite color.  While I was putting my swag away I decided it would be an easy job to turn them into a necklace and figured a simple color scheme would be best.  I think the purple stone may be lavender jade, I don't remember what the blue ones are.  A couple of years ago I picked up some clasps at the Bead & Button show, including some carved roses.  Strung on silver Soft Flex.

Sacred Vessel Necklace

I have had this focal bead in my stash for a couple of years.  It is by Larry Scott, my favorite lamp work bead artist.  Yesterday morning I was putting away my swag from the last Bead & Button show and taking stock to see what I wanted to look for this year.  When I pulled out this strand I knew immediately that they would go perfectly with this bead.  The large oval beads are fossil coral from Indonesia.  I'm not sure what the small gray ones are, I am really terrible about keeping track of what kind of semi-precious stones I buy, only what colors.  I am going to try and fix that, and I have a couple of field guides coming to help me identify what I have.

I used a fish clasp and silver Soft Flex.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hibernia Socks - Finished!

I finished my second Hibernia sock this evening, and just in the nick of time!  The yarn for the next club pattern came today, along with my prize.  I think I am starting to catch the sock bug, although I still have a hard time wearing them, because, well, they will wear out if I do that and they are so pretty.

Pattern:  Hibernia by Janel Laidman, Knitterati Sock Club 2012
Yarn:  Mad Color Fiber Arts Classica in Emerald Forest
Needles:  US 1.5 (2.5 mm)

As I mentioned, the latest shipment came today, and the yarn is a lovely color, one of my favorites, in fact.  I wonder what the mystery will be this time around.  The yarn is Boneshaker Sock by Little Red Bicycle, 80/20 superwash Blue Faced Leicester/nylon in color heliotropium.
There was also a project bag.  Now I have three.
The one on the left came with the first shipment, the one on the right came with the second shipment and the one in the center came with this shipment.  It matches the yarn beautifully.  I used the other two with their respective socks, and shall continue the tradition.  And here is my prize.  A skein of Abstract Fiber Mighty Sock in Clover (appropriately enough, considering the theme of the last shipment).  The yarn is a 50/50 Superwash Merino/Tencel. It turns out I have a skein of Copper in my stash.
Patterns will be released tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fresh Ink Cardigan - Let's Try That Again

So I was knitting and purling away on this the other evening and remembered how much I hate working ribbing.  I don't mind knitting and I don't mind purling, it is the constant switching back and forth that gets me.  To complicate matters further, the dark yarn made it harder to see the stitches.  After messing up for the third time in as many rows I took the hint and frogged.  I went back to my Sweater Wizard pattern and got rid of the ribbing.  Then I cast back on and did 6 rows of garter stitch.  The yarn is lovely to knit with, and the color is so deep.  You can get a hint of the subtle variation in the color from the picture.  I love semi-solid colors with subtle variegation.  I think they add depth and texture to the knitting.

In other project news, I've finished the leg of my second Hibernia sock and will be working on the heel tonight.  I should be able to finish it before the weekend, which is a good thing.  I received my shipping notice from Janel Laidman today, and Camp Loop starts on Sunday.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rose - Making Progress

This is another of Fiesta Yarn's Flower of the Month colors, Rose.  The yarn is 100% silk, and not tightly spun, so I am not sure how well it will wear.  It tends to split and is easily snagged, but it feels heavenly on.  I was going to do another raglan pullover, but now I am thinking it will be a raglan tunic-tee.  I thought I would do a simple edging on the neck and the arms, maybe eyelet, and then just use up the rest of the yarn adding length to the body.  But right now I need to get back to my second Hibernia sock.  I have just passed the half way point on the leg.  I need to finish that sock this week.

Calla Lily Pullover - Redux - Finished!

We had to go down to Blacksburg, Virginia this weekend.  Our son was moving into a new apartment with his fiancee and we went down to help.  Our daughter and her boyfriend also came down from Charlottesville.  In the end, we couldn't move the bed as we had planned because it wouldn't fit in my Element (I could have told them that), but I think the real reason we went down was to spend some time with the kids.  Our son is heading off to New Mexico for a summer job, and we wanted to celebrate his engagement before he left for the summer.  It is a four hour drive, which really makes it too long to go down and back in a day, although we have done it.  Bruce did all of the driving, and I knit.  I knit one sleeve on the way down, and one sleeve on the way back.  This came out a lot better knitting it at a tighter gauge.  There is almost no pooling at all, just some striping.  There isn't even any pooling in the sleeves, which is unusual. Here is a picture of the original for comparison.  Quite a difference!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fresh Ink Cardigan

This color was the latest offering in The Quasi Yarn Club offered by Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden.  The yarn is a new addition to her line, Serenity DK, a 90/10 superwash merino/cashmere blend.  The color is Fresh Ink.  (Being a long time fan of fountain pens I can relate to the name, although I usually pick wilder colors for my pens.)  I have been pondering what this yarn wanted to become every since it came, but have not found anything that really spoke to me.  When I first started searching I found the Hooray Cardigan.  I like the design elements, it reminds me of Audrey Hepburn, but after knitting my swatch the yarn just didn't seem all that eager to become that cardigan.  So I went back to the Ravelry pattern library (a very dangerous place to spend time, we won't talk about how many other patterns found their way into my library) and I came across the Cable Trim Pullover.  This one reminds me of classical Greece, which is one of my favorite historical periods and I even started knitting the bottom cable trim, but once again the yarn was not enthusiastic.  So this morning I went back to the pattern library.  I found some more nice projects, but still none of them really spoke to me.  I wanted something easy.  I will probably finish re-knitting my Calla Lilly Pullover this weekend and I need something for my work bag.  (I knit when I am listening to telecons, if I don't I start doing work and stop listening, I also knit when I am reading documents.)  I also wanted something that I would get a lot of use out of.  In the end I fired up my Sweater Wizard software and whipped up a simple cardigan.  I am knitting it in one piece to the arm holes, and will be doing top-down set in sleeves, which I haven't done in a while.  It will also have a collar.  I have knit three rows of the bottom ribbing.  The yarn seems happy, and so am I.

Calla Lilly Pullover - Redux - Body Done

This is the third and last of the original pullovers that I knit in Fiesta Yarns Boomerang that I decided to re-knit in a tighter gauge.  This is the Calla Lilly colorway and it was pretty crazy when I knit it the first time around.  It is amazing what changing the gauge will do with these variegated yarns.  Boomerang is listed as an Aran weight yarn, which frankly really blows my mind.  I knit Boomerang on Size 6 (4.0 mm) needles (the yarn band recommends a size 8) and I am not a loose knitter.  In fact I usually get gauge when knitting with commercial patterns.  Of course, now that I am on the last of these Boomerang sweaters I finally have the pattern dialed in.  I started out with the Sweater Wizard top down raglan pattern, but I modified the shoulder and neck shaping.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Camp Loopy 2012

It is almost time for Camp Loopy.  This is the best kind of camp in my book, virtual, and focused on knitting and crochet.  Each month for three months you knit or crochet a different challenge project. As if I need any more works in progress! But I don't care, it is fun, and if you buy your yarn from The Loopy Ewe during Store Week you can double your bonus dollars and get 20% off your order, and if you get your yarn from The Loopy Ewe and complete all three projects you will get a prize, a skein of fingering weight cashmere blend in a Camp Loopy colorway.  Last year the prize was a skein of Wollmeise yarn. The first challenge is to knit or crochet something that takes more than 400 yards and is by a designer from a country other than your own.  I picked the Briar Rose Bolero by Ysolda Teague and I am going to knit it in Dream in Color Classy in Cool Fire.  So what are you waiting for?  The last day to order your project yarn from The Loopy Ewe and get a 20% discount is today.  Camp starts on May 27.  Are you in? 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cranberry Delight - In Progress

According to my project page on Ravelry, I started this project on November 25, 2010.  Yes, 2010.  It has been sitting in my bead project box waiting patiently for me to return to it.  Well, this weekend I finally did.  I pulled it out, and did some more stringing of beads, and started in on the crocheting.  I was having a devil of a time starting out the spiral bead crochet, especially with the small drops, so I finally gave up and strung several rounds of the size 11 seed beads and started out with a plain bead crochet rope.  Once I had that established, it was easy to transition into the spiral.  I did have to do a little improvisation when I discovered that I had somehow missed a bead on a previous round in the plain bead crochet and I was a bead short.  I did an increase and you can't even see it now.

I was also having a heck of a time maintaining tension while crocheting.  Between the thin thread and the fact that it is silk, it just was not cooperating.  I finally solved that problem by setting the spool on the floor by my foot and letting the beads hang down and pool on the floor next to it.  The weight of the beads tensions the thread perfectly, and it is easy to lift the strand and feed out more thread.  The entire project is sitting in one of my beading boards.  They are great for laying out beads for stringing, but they also work to corral components.  The metal tool at the bottom of the picture is one of my dental picks.  They are great for snagging the loop if it accidentally slips off of the crochet hook.  The strand of leaves are carved tourmaline, aren't they swell?  I love the colors, the cranberry drops and the gold size 11 beads really catch the light, while the olive lined with purple are so solid.  I love the puddle of strung beads with the champagne gold silk.  The crochet was too tight to get a strand of Soft Flex through, so I am going to have to come up with a new design for the assembly, but I have some ideas.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fickle-Zen Mystery Shawl #2 - Clues 1 & 2

This is the second offering in the Fickle-Zen Mystery KAL collaboration.  Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden does the dyeing and Michelle Miller, aka the Fickle-Knitter does the designing.  The yarn is new to Zen Yarn Garden, it is Serenity Single Lace, a single ply 75/15/10 merino/cashmere/silk yarn.  Very soft, and a little squiggly.  The pattern was a bit of a challenge because of the way the pattern charts are done.  They are all one chart, rather than a chart for the right wing and a chart for the left wing, so all of the increases show up on the outside edges, instead of symmetrically, which makes reading your lace and correlating it to the chart pretty much impossible, at least for me.  After a couple of repeats I did see the pattern in the knitting, so I could tell that it was correct, but I still found myself repeating the stitch pattern like a mantra as I knit each row.

The color is Jamba and it is a wonderful rich purple-red.  I started out with Spirulina, which is a teal blue, but I just wasn't feeling the love, so I frogged what I had knit and started over.  I may go back and knit a second one in the Spirulina later, it is a lovely color, and I like the lace pattern.  It is not a very prominent pattern, it is just this wonderful sinuous meandering like waves or dunes.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hibernia Socks - One Sock Done!

I'll bet you thought that I had forgotten all about these socks.  They have been languishing, but they have not been forgotten, although I am thankful for the delay in the next shipment as it gives me time to finish these.  I did modify the pattern a little.  The pattern has the cabling continuing all of the way down the top of the foot and into the toe.  The final decreases in the cable pattern are actually incorporated into the toe decreases.  I decided I didn't want to do that so I only did a single repeat of each of the last 2 charts, doing lifted increases to compensate for the decreases in the final chart.  I finished the sock off with a traditional rounded toe.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tea Rose Shawlette - Chart A

This is the second offering in the Stop and Smell the Roses Club from The Unique Sheep, and if you missed this round, it has been so popular that they are offering a second.  I have already signed up.  The yarn is Luxe, the color Tea Rose.  It has been sitting in one of my project bags (no, I am not going to tell you how many I have) beckoning to me.  I finally wound it into a ball this morning, so that I could start on it tonight.  The design is by Julia Temiseva.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Celtic Infinity Necklace

I love Celtic Knots, I even know how to draw them and I have used them in beadwork.  I picked up the Celtic knot beads a while ago and they have been in my stash waiting for something worthy of them.  I found the Celtic Knot clasp last year at Bead & Button.  I bought the pendant at Bead & Button as well, but I don't remember how long it has been in my stash.  The large beads I found last year, probably at one of my favorite stores in Yellow Springs, Ohio - Unfinished Creations.  I always stop in there after Bead & Button to see if the owner has any unusual gemstone beads.  I didn't have enough to fill out the length so I used some smaller onyx beads.  Strung on silver Soft Flex.

Avatar Necklace

I've had these elements in my bead stash for at least a year, but hadn't figured out how to turn them into anything.  Then a couple of weeks ago I dreamed about a possible design, which I sketched while trying to stay awake during the Preliminary Design Review of a program that I am working on.  That original design idea did not work, but it got me playing with the elements.  The beads in the outer spots of the dish are all glass, but they look like stone.  The problem that I was trying to solve was how to work the triangles (that look kind of like shark teeth) into the design because their hole is in the middle, front to back, making it a challenge to attach them into anything.  As is so often the case, the solution was easy, once I stopped fighting the nature of the beads.  I remembered that I had a strand of semi-precious stones that were not spherical, but were instead rounded cubes (the ones in the center of the dish).  So, I decided to go for simple and strung them all on some Soft Flex beading wire.
The resulting necklace reminds me of something that the Na'vi might wear on Pandora from the movie Avatar, hence the name of the piece.  I had an odd number of the interstitial beads, so I added 3 to one side and 4 to the other side before I attached the clasp.  By doing this I actually compensate for the asymmetry of the clasp itself.  The loop adds extra length, in comparison to the bar, but thanks to the extra bead the necklace hangs symmetrically.


And lest you think that I have suddenly gone on a green kick (I do seem to have a lot of greens on my needles right now), here is Rosebud, another shawl based upon the Circular Pi Shawl of Elizabeth Zimmerman, as put forth in the Over the Moon Pattern by Vicki Mikulak.  This one is to use up the remainders of my yarn from Le Petit Prince, the Love Spoken Here colorway on Luxe.  This is an easy way to use up leftovers and show off a beautiful yarn, because it isn't always about the pattern, sometimes it is just about the yarn, and the colors.  I am now trying to decide what to do for the border.  I really liked using another color as I did for the Tart Berries & Honey shawl, but I don't have the right color of Luxe in my stash.  In keeping with the rose theme I was thinking of a nice dark green.  Of course, that means that I will have to go to The Unique Sheep web site and find a color that I think will work (such a terrible fate, I know).

I am trying to get into the habit of weighing my skeins before I start knitting with them.  I don't do this consistently, yet, but I am working on it.  I am also trying to be more accurate on Ravelry when I enter how much yarn a project took, which is where the weighing of the skeins comes in.  When you have that special skein that you want to make something with and you're not sure if you have enough, this kind of data can really come in handy.  So, what I have been trying to do is when I start a project I weigh the yarn and adjust the total amount in my stash on Ravelry, and then when I finish the project I weigh the remainder and adjust the amount used on the project page.

Transitions - Clue 1

This is the latest offering in the Light & Dark Lace club that Ruth of PennyRose Yarns and Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden present.  Ruth has always done the designing, and she and Roxanne alternate on the dyeing.  Ruth does the light colors, and Roxanne the dark.  The yarn is Carrie Lace, a very nice 2 ply (80% merino, 20% silk), the color is Cucumber.  I am using US 3 (3.25 mm) needles.  The clue came out over a week ago, but I have been busy finishing up my third Diadem shawl (a previous club offering) and didn't really get to it until yesterday.

And speaking of Diadem #3, here is a slightly better shot that shows off the variegation better.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Maria's Diadem - Finished!

I almost finished this up last night, but I caught myself nodding off with only a handful of repeats left on the border.  Yes, I have nodded off while knitting, it is a weird sensation.  This picture does not do justice to the color of the yarn.  The colorway is Garden of Eden, and it has the most beautiful variegated greens.  I didn't realize how beautiful the yarn was until I took it outside with me yesterday while I was working on the border.  In artificial light the colors become muted.  Hopefully I will be able to get some beauty shots this weekend.  I hope that Maria likes it.  I'll offer her a choice of this one or mine (in Moon Purple), or maybe I should just give her the Moon Purple and keep this one.  I can always knit myself another one in Moon Purple.

Pattern:  Diadem by Ruth Greenwald
Yarn:  Serenity Silk + from Zen Yarn Garden
Needle:  US 5, 3.75mm

I also came home to yarny goodness from The Unique Sheep.  This was the first shipment of the Tea version of the Sip-n-Stitch club.  The tea is called Fiji and is Green Tea with Pineapple and Papaya.  It smells heavenly.  I love the yarn, it just made me smile.  The colorway is Pineapple, and the yarn is Verve.  Pineapple is just about my favorite snack, but you have to be careful what kind you get.  It has to be in the juice, rather than the syrup and we buy Del Monte.  Dole puts citric acid in theirs and it gives it an odd taste.  I just want to taste pineapple.  If you really want to have some fun, buy a whole pineapple and let it get a little over ripe before you cut it up.  It will actually start fermenting.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Maria's Diadem - Charts C, D & E

And the beginning of the border.  I finished Charts C and D on Sunday, and almost made it through Chart E.  I finished up the last two rows of Chart E on Monday and started the knit on border.  The border is an easy pattern to memorize, although I keep the chart out as a safety net.  This picture was taken with the flash, so you can really see the lace, as well as the variegation in the color of the yarn.  I should be able to finish this up this week, and then I can get back to my Fickle-Zen Mystery KAL #2, and the current Light and Dark Lace Club Mystery KAL.  Plus I have to finish up my Hibernia socks.  I have a little extra time for those, the next club shipment was delayed.  The exciting news on that club is that I won a prize!  It is the first time that I have ever won anything, so I am way excited.